When 1975 PHS graduate Dennis Gibbs thought about his passion for cycling and the role it plays in his grandchildren's lives, he decided to do something to help share that passion with more children.
This summer, Gibbs donated 20 children's bicycles and helmets to Central Elementary. The Central PTO donated "trainers," which turn the bikes into stationary cycles, to extend the use of the bikes for indoor use.
But Gibbs didn't stop there. Working with Eli Wheeler, another PHS grad and the P.E. teacher at Central, he developed a cycling curriculum that includes balance, safety, bicycle mechanics, proper hydration and riding techniques. In fact, every Tuesday morning this summer, Wheeler and Gibbs rode bikes and worked on lessons that Wheeler will be teaching throughout the school year.
So this morning marked the official celebration of the donation. Central students gathered at Plainfield's Town Hall (just across the street from GearUp Cyclery, which is located at the corner of Main and Center streets) to be fitted with helmets and bikes, and to get their instructions for delivering the bikes to Central.
Dr. Mary Giesting, Director of The Imagination Lab, thanked the Gibbs' Family for their generous support of both Central Elementary and The Imagination Lab (they've donated a bicycle and trainer to the lab for energy-related odysseys). In their spare time, Mr. Gibbs and his wife (who previously taught 1st and 2nd grades in Mooresville) will be volunteers at the lab!
With the Gibbs family taking the lead and bringing up the rear (three generations of riders!), plus some experienced GearUp friends mixed into the pack, the students rode the school's new bikes from Town Hall, south on Center to Buchanan, then east to Wabash, making the final turn to the Central parking lot.
As part of the safety planning for today's ride, Plainfield police took the led the pack, stopping traffic and ensuring that cars stayed out of the way, while Plainfield Fire Territory brought up the rear in an out-of-service truck. #SafetyFirst!
Once at Central, they took part in their first safety and balance course, with Gibbs and Wheeler giving instructions and encouraging the young riders. With parents and siblings cheering them on, it was a great morning to be outdoors, having fun and getting some great exercise.
But even better? The lessons all Central students will benefit from in the coming years. From the entire Central Elementary family and all of the #QuakerFaces, we say a big thank you to the Gibbs Family and GearUp Cyclery!